Saturday, May 5, 2018

How "choice" relates to segregation in NYC schools

This issue came up when I spoke to a literacy social justice class at Leon Goldstein HS the other day (Where I go back into the classroom) in Maurice Blackmon's class. The first question was about heterogeneous vs homogeneous instruction. And it was one of the longest answers I gave - I taught homogeneous - other than one year -- and there are positives and negatives to both - but I pointed out that getting rid classes based on reading scores fueled the charter movement as parents with kids with good test scores didn't want their kids in classes with lower performing kids.... Norm
Leonie Haimson reported this while on vacation celebrating her birthday in Sicily (happy B-day Leonie). There's no stopping her.
The essence of this report is the further destruction of the concept of a neighborhood school. How to balance that with attempts to desegregate is an issue. Our new chancellor stepped in it with his comments on white parents avoiding sending their kids to certain schools.

It appears that the expansion of charters, the elimination of zoned schools in D7 and D23, the restriction of controlled choice in D1, and the Kindergarten Connect systems have all contributed to more K students attending schools outside their zone:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, elected in 2001, was a fierce proponent of choice. His administration encouraged the rapid expansion of charter schools by offering them free space in ordinary public schools. The City eliminated attendance zones in three of the 32 school districts. District 1 on the Lower East Side, District 7 in the South Bronx, and District 23 in Brooklyn’s Brownsville section became all-choice districts. [Actually D1 was already]

The City centralized kindergarten enrollment, which had been the responsibility of individual principals. And in the final months of Bloomberg’s third and last term, the City Department of Education (DOE) created an online kindergarten application process called Kindergarten Connect designed to encourage school choice by simplifying paperwork and reducing the amount of time parents spent travelling from school to school to submit applications.

Although current Mayor Bill de Blasio is a less vocal supporter of school choice and has a less friendly relationship with the charter sector than his predecessor, school choice options have continued to increase during his tenure.”

[including Kindergarten connect which happened during his administration]….

Last year, nearly 60 percent of Black families with kindergarten-aged children in public schools chose a school, including the 9 percent who lived in all-choice districts. … Black students who leave their zoned schools are much more likely to attend a charter school than any other group of students, a proportion that has steadily increased over the past decade, … In 2016-17, 30 percent of Black kindergartners attended a charter school, compared to 13 percent of all kindergartners. …

Students who leave tend to enroll in schools with higher levels of academic achievement, as measured by test scores, and fewer low-income classmates, our analysis found. Those who stay are more likely to find themselves in schools with higher concentrations of poverty and more classmates who don’t speak English…

If all children in public elementary schools went to their zoned schools, our analysis found,  the city’s schools would be marginally less segregated than they are now. Over 6,000 more kindergartners would attend schools with free lunch rates near the city average [out of about 75,000]. About 2,300 more kindergartners would attend schools that are between 50 and 90 percent Black and Hispanic, which is the range the City’s Department of Education (DOE) established for “racially representative” schools in the “diversity” plan it released in June 2017. Children also would be more evenly distributed by race, language status, and income throughout the public schools than they are now.

Controlling for race, ethnicity, and other demographic characteristics, free lunch-eligible families were 80 percent less likely to opt out of their zoned schools and English language learners were 73 percent less likely to opt out of their zoned schools….

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